Wednesday, June 27, 2007

House for Sale

Ugh. It's just not fun selling our house. I imagine selling a home could be fun, in the right location and the right time, but at the moment, it's as uninspiring as a half-eaten bag of pretzels. No wait, less so. You could build a play fort with pretzel sticks - so that's pretty inspiring, actually.

We had the "Broker's Open" today, but only 7 people came. Two agents looking for their clients, one "design to sell" person, two agents looking around to see how their condos compare, and a single buyer looking for a place for his kids. Yes, it could have been worse, but zheesh! (I do have to admit it was better than I'd expected, though.)

Great news: I got my first freelance editing job. :-) It's a non-fiction book about the on-coming Armageddon and how the aliens/angels are selecting good people to go into an alternate dimension to save them. Yes, I know. Anyway, the book is quite a challenge because it's all over the place, but I'm having fun editing (um, rewriting, actually), and my customer is incredibly interesting and sincere. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come - editing jobs, not Armageddon.

More great news: The used car we bought a few months ago that was going to require $8,000 in repairs recently got a second opinion from a transmission shop. The repairs from them will cost us $300. Yes, quite a change! I was thrilled when I found out because who wants to spend $8,000 to fix a $4,500 car? We felt so trapped when we were facing thousands of dollars in repairs, so a few hundred is miracle. :-) Soon, I won't be stuck at home when Jim goes to work, so Elizabeth and I can go to parks, the beach, and maybe the Wild Animal Park during the day.

I am going to Lake Tahoe on the 6th of July for a college friend's wedding. I'm a bridesmaid, and this will be the first time I've been able to attend as a bridesmaid (twice before, I couldn't make it and I already had bought the dresses). Elizabeth is coming with me. The cool thing about this wedding is that we have to ride a ski lift up to the ceremony!

Here are two pictures from the cruise that my Uncle took... the second one is the best!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday Scribblings

Here's my first-ever Sunday Scribblings post:
"I have a Secret..."

They say the ones that got away, the Chosen Ones, went to a land called Paradise, where the sun is bright and the air clear and warm. My grandparents, and the others like them, were left behind to dry like thrown-up food on a rock.
We all know this much. We've been told about Armageddon since we were whelps, but I know more than my cousins. Those brats just nod their heads during storytime and stare into the fire. They haven't looked into the eyes of the Grandparents - they haven't seen the green storms that whirl there.
They haven't once gone up above to feel the snow.
It's not wet like the Grandparents say. It's like dust, but fine and cold and layered with ribbons of grays and blacks like rocks are layered with quartz and mica. The air there is dry also, but it stings. I had to hold my breath, take a look, and then crawl back through the metal-rimmed hatch I had found.
That was the first time.
The second time, I held my breath and looked for animals. Big ones. The kind I've heard that can knock a human over -- not the rats or roaches or worms we eat. I scanned my torch all around, but I saw nothing. The air was thick and dark-white, and nothing but snow still covered the ground.
It was the fifth time I went above, when I brought along a mask I'd made of peat-mud and leather straps, that I found it, just steps from the hatch door. The wall of stone stood out from the snow like a skeleton spine and ran in both directions as far as my torch would light. Gasping through my mask, I staggered in the knee-deep snow to the wall and touched it. It was as real as piss.
The wall only stood as high as my dad at the highest part, but every ten feet or so it dropped a few feet and then rose back up so that the top moved up and down along the line of the wall. I grabbed the gray stone with my cloth-wrapped hands and quickly pulled back. The rock was frozen solid and the cold bit right through to my fingers. I wanted to climb on top, so I pulled up in a huff and threw one leg over on which to stand. I didn't think about it until later, but the top of the wall wasn't covered in snow.
The light from my torch bit through the darkness like a rodent chewing on something soft and fleshy so that only bits of light scattered across the top of the wall, but there in the iceflake darkness I saw the wall was as wide as two men were tall, like a road. I knew in a heartbeat what I had found. It was in the legends the Grandparents talked of, how people built walls not only to keep their food animals penned in, but to keep people out.
This had to be it. The Great Wall had not been destroyed in the ice that crawled across the landscape.
I peered through the shard-like dust snow a final time and then jumped off the wall. I rushed back to the hatch, back to the safety of the caves where the scents of musk and human waste mixed with the tears that fell from the Grandparents' eyes. My hips scratched through the hatch and into safety as I yanked off the mask and breathed in deep, wondering what the air inside the wall would smell like.
My little sister waited for me with hands folded across her chest. She asked me in the lowest voice she could spit out,
"What was up there?" I wanted to tell her everything. She would admire me, call me a great explorer and discoverer, and listen to my stories of what the world was like now, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and said,
"Nothing, whelp. Just wet snow like they say."

I like where this story idea is going, so some day I might do more with it. A short story, perhaps, or another novel. At any rate, it was great getting into the groove again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Alaska and Moose Hats

Our cruise was fantastic. :-) The only stressful bits for me were the dinners, because we had to keep Elizabeth happy in a fancy environment for over two hours each night. However, we did get to pawn her off a few times and walk around on the top deck, watching the late sunset from a warm sauna. I only got away to write twice, but I got almost 2,000 words written and I'm proud of that. The hard part was getting back into the story because it had been a week since I'd worked on it.

Elizabeth finally found a hat she'll wear! Behind one of the antlers is a glacier. Notice the floating ice? We hit one with the ship, and it shuddered. (Made me shudder, too!)

Here we are pulling into port at Skagway. I think of the towns we visited, Skagway was my favorite. We went on a nice little hike there, too, and checked out a secluded lake. Elizabeth napped on me on the way up, then pointed out leaves and rocks when Jim carried her down.

A beautiful valley. I would love to have a home there - as long as we had a runway to get in and out. A valley like this one is what I think of when I need to escape pain mentally (like when I was in labor).

Here we are at the Mendenhall Glacier. If we'd had more time there, we would have hiked to the waterfall. While we drove there on a bus, my sister Hazel got to take a helicopter ride and land on a few glaciers and do a walkabout.

And Elizabeth finally got to get in the water. One of the days was a bit warmer (in the 60s), and the pool was heated and the sun was out, so we put her BumGenius diaper on and let her crawl around. She kept going for the deep end, and it was pretty funny watching Jim chasing after her. I, claiming a painful back, sat in the hot tub and watched.

Our flight home yesterday was longer than it should have been, but we made it. Jiji, our cat, was thrilled to see we'd returned. Although the trip was awesome, I'm glad to be home and comfortable again. Cruising with a baby is hard work.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Open House, Open Water

The house goes on the market today, and we are going on a cruise! My Grandparents are celebrating their 50th Anniversary, so they bought everyone passage on an Alaskan cruise (Princess Cruises). Yippee! Jim, Elizabeth, and I are sorely in need of some pampering and relaxing. I'm bringing my notepad, notes, and my determination along to get some writing done. I haven't written in ages, and it's wearing on me. Finally, I will have loads of babysitters lounging about.

Wish us luck in the housing market. We need a good sale!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why I am NOT an Interior Decorator

Apparently I cannot do anything I put my mind to. For instance, I cannot be relied upon to choose complimentary (and sane) colors. It may sound strange, but I thought blue and green would look great in the kitchen. I thought it'd liven things up a bit. My dear husband just went along with it, trusting I had a miraculous plan.

Well, it felt more like a blue cave with slime trim, as you can see in this picture:
After a week of being depressed whenever I thought of the kitchen, we went back to the hardware store and spoke to a painter. He suggested the following color scheme:Much better, don't you think? It took a bit longer than a weekend... Getting the new invisible hinges in took a while, but it makes things smoother. Let's hope we get someone in here during our Open House that thinks the kitchen looks terrific. It looks much nicer than it did when we moved in, at least.

In the mean time, I am spending every waking moment organizing, cleaning, and spiffing up the place. I even have a babysitter scheduled for a few hours tomorrow so I can get the nitty-gritty stuff cleaned up. I am sooo sleepy, but we are going on holiday next week, so I can sleep then. *yawn*